said. “Everything will be here in a couple of hours. We’ll process the check, deduct our fee, according to our agreement, and issue you a cashier’s check from my account first thing tomorrow morning. All we need do then is present the signed agreement to a judge with a joint petition for a decree. And remember, you can’t tell a soul what you got in the agreement. It’s big trouble if you do.”

Bernice Finger pressed a hand to her ample bosom. “Oh, that’s such a relief,” she said. She stood up. “Well, I’ll look forward to receiving my check in the morning.”

Stone walked her to the front door. “Bernice, I hope I don’t have to put you under armed guard to prevent another trip to Vegas.”

She laughed aloud. “Fat chance!” she said, then walked to her waiting car, where the chauffeur was braced with the door open, got in and was driven away.

Stone went back inside. “Were you listening on the phone?”

“Oh, yes,” Joan said. “That was thrilling.”

“Call the bank and tell them we’re making a late deposit, a cashier’s check, and we want the funds cleared immediately. When it clears, deduct our fee and messenger Mrs. Finger a cashier’s check for the balance, along with the property deeds, then write yourself a bonus check for ten thousand dollars.”

Joan came to attention and saluted. “Yes, sir!”

Stone walked back through his office, up the stairs and into the elevator. A moment later, he was walking into his bedroom, where Eliza was sitting up in bed, doing the Times crossword puzzle.

“Hello, sailor,” she said. “How are you feeling?”

“Revitalized,” he replied, working on his buttons.


I am happy to hear from readers, but you should know that if you write to me in care of my publisher, three to six months will pass before I receive your letter, and when it finally arrives it will be one among many, and I will not be able to reply.

However, if you have access to the Internet, you may visit my Web site at, where there is a button for sending me e-mail. So far, I have been able to reply to all of my e-mail, and I will continue to try to do so.

If you send me an e-mail and do not receive a reply, it is because you are among an alarming number of people who have entered their e-mail address incorrectly in their mail software. I have many of my replies returned as undeliverable.

Remember: e-mail, reply; snail mail, no reply.

When you e-mail, please do not send attachments, as I never open these. They can take twenty minutes to download, and they often contain viruses.

Please do not place me on your mailing lists for funny stories, prayers, political causes, charitable fund-raising, petitions or sentimental claptrap. I get enough of that from people I already know. Generally speaking, when I get e-mail addressed to a large number of people, I immediately delete it without reading it.

Please do not send me your ideas for a book, as I have a policy of writing only what I myself invent. If you send me story ideas, I will immediately delete them without reading them. If you have a good idea for a book, write it yourself, but I will not be able to advise you on how to get it published. Buy a copy of Writer’s Market at any bookstore; that will tell you how.

Anyone with a request concerning events or appearances may e-mail it to me or send it to: Publicity Department, Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014.

Those ambitious folk who wish to buy film, dramatic or television rights to my books should contact Matthew Snyder, Creative Artists Agency, 9830 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90212-1825.

Those who wish to make offers for rights of a literary nature should contact Anne Sibbald, Janklow & Nesbit, 445 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022. (Note: This is not an invitation for you to send her your manuscript or to solicit her to be your agent.)

If you want to know if I will be signing books in your city, please visit my Web site,, where the tour schedule will be published a month or so in advance. If you wish me to do a book signing in your locality, ask your favorite bookseller to contact his Penguin representative or the Penguin publicity department with the request.

If you find typographical or editorial errors in my book and feel an irresistible urge to tell someone, please write to Rachel Kahan at Penguin’s address above. Do not e-mail your discoveries to me, as I will already have learned about them from others.

A list of my published works appears in the front of this book and on my Web site. All the novels are still in print in paperback and can be found at or ordered from any bookstore. If you wish to obtain hardcover copies of earlier novels or of the two nonfiction books, a good used bookstore or one of the online bookstores can help you find them. Otherwise, you will have to go to a great many garage sales.

About Stuart Woods

Stuart Woods lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and on the Isle of Wight. His first novel CHIEFS won the EDGAR ALLAN POE award and was made into a hugely successful six-hour TV drama in which Charlton Heston took the starring role. Two of his novels, UNDER THE LAKE and WHITE CARGO are under development as feature films.

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